Rural communities warn UK lawmakers against banning trophy hunting

  • July 13th, 2022 - 2 mins, 6 secs read

Rural communities warn UK lawmakers against banning trophy hunting

Community Leaders Network of Southern Africa (CLN), has warned that a wave of legislative proposals through Europe to restrict legal imports of hunting trophies threatens the rights and livelihoods of rural communities in Africa. 

They argue that a move where Belgium, Italy and the UK are all seeking to introduce new legislation that would ban hunters from bringing their hunting trophies home, would undermine the rights and livelihoods of rural communities that live with wildlife. 

CLN leaders said although these policies are intended to curb legal hunting and thus protect animals, in reality they will negatively impact community-based conservation programmes and wildlife. 

CLN an organization that represents hundreds of communities involved in wildlife conservation across nine Southern African countries recently met with European Union (EU) and UK government leaders to explain how hunting supports rural livelihoods in the region. 

A delegate member from Botswana, Siyoka Simasiku representing Ngamiland Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (NCONGO) revealed to this publication that CLN testified before the European Parliament on the realities of local African communities and indigenous people, at a special public hearing organised by French Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Michèle Rivasi of the Green Party. 

Simasiku highlighted that during a trip in Europe from the 23 May to 5 June 2022, leaders of Southern African communities that practise wildlife conservation, met with European policymakers to warn that the proposed restrictive laws will have serious negative consequences for millions of their ijoo people. 

He added that they met with Zac Goldsmith, UK Minister for International Environment and Climate, and UK Animal Welfare and Forests, as well as representatives from the House of Lords and the House of Commons to discuss the government’s plan to introduce a Bill containing a trophy import ban. 

The delegation also met with senior Belgian government officials in Brussels regarding Belgium’s proposed trophy import ban in Belgium. While in Brussels, they met with officials from the European Commission to discuss the links between local livelihoods and the use of wildlife. 

In France, they met with a member of the French Parliament, UNESCO officials and the French Development Agency (AFD) to discuss ways in which CLN can work more closely with Europe. 

In Germany, the delegation had an opportunity to present at the International Conference of Wildlife Management hosted by Resource Africa that included in-depth discussions on trophy hunting in Africa. 

The delegation also attended several meetings with environmental officials and Members of Parliament where they identified common ground relating to community conservation and international institutions on matters of common interest. 

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